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It's been a rollercoaster couple of weeks for the England cricket camp. A comprehensive thrashing at the hands of Australia saw them slump one-nil down in the Ashes series, before batsman Jonathan Trott left the tour due to a stress-related illness. 

Now in Adelaide, England must regroup as they look to claw their way back into the series. 

Here Ian Bell - the Man of the Series during the last Ashes series - pays homage to Trott, reflects on the last couple of weeks before turning his focus to the upcoming Test match.

It has been an emotional few days. Not only did we make a hugely disappointing start to the Ashes series but we saw our friend and team-mate Jonathan Trott forced home with a stress-related illness.

I’ve known Trotty a long time. When we first met at Warwickshire more than a decade ago, we had our whole careers ahead of us. We were young, single and ambitious.

Over the years, we’ve seen each other grow from single guys into married men with kids, we’ve seen each other develop from county players into England players and we’ve won County Championships together, Lord’s finals together and Ashes series together.

We’ve enjoyed each other’s successes and mourned each other’s failures. We have, in many ways, grown up together.

So, to see him struggle has been hard. He has been a key part of this England team for a long time and he is a player we have relied upon to provide match-defining innings in tough situations again and again.

He has, so often, been the man who has set up our totals and seen off the bowlers at their freshest and the ball at its hardest. Of course we will miss a player like that. But this isn’t about cricket.

There’s much more to life than sport and all any of us hope for is to see Trotty back on the cricket pitch with a smile on his face again.

It doesn’t matter if it’s for Warwickshire or England: all that matters is that he gets well and rediscovers the joy of playing.

There’s no time frame, no expectation and no pressure. He just needs to get away from it for a while and come back when he feels ready. They were a difficult couple of days for us in Brisbane.

We let ourselves down as a batting unit, but I truly believe it has brought us closer as a group. We have regrouped, refocused and we feel ready for Adelaide.

We have come back from bad starts before and we know we can do it again. We didn’t give our bowlers a chance in Brisbane.

They performed so well on the first day, but such effort takes a lot out of you in this heat and our failure in our first innings forced them back into action too quickly. We asked too much of them.

Trotty’s return home has invited the question whether I ever thought about turning my back on cricket in bad times, even if just for the briefest moment.

I can honestly say I haven’t. I’ve wanted to be a cricketer since I was a boy and that hasn’t changed. There are times it has been hard and I couldn’t buy a run, but I have never wanted to stop.

I suspect that everyone who has played cricket knows what it’s like to go through a patch of bad form. It’s part of the cycle of the game.

I have, I think, toured for at least part of every winter since I was 16 and there are times when that is hard. But you work out ways to cope and these days we are well supported.

We have no complaints about anything that has happened on the field. We expect the Ashes to be played hard and we knew the Australians would come at us with everything they had. Quite right too.

There has been nothing happening on the field that has not happened in previous series.

© The Independent


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